Irvine Quik & the Search for the Fish of Traglea

Anyone who's played "The Ascot" knows that Duncan Bowsman is capable of some truly manic-pixie-sticks hyperactive silliness. That seems to be his strength. "Irvine Quik" is not intended to be in the same sort of sugar-high as "The Ascot", but some of that attitude does seep through. Fortunately. It turns out that there is a line in between "loser protagonist" and "eager young lad", and Irvine Quik hovers there primarily because of Bowsman's inability to mope.

(Actually, it is only from reading other reviews that I got any idea that Irvine Quik might be a loser protagonist. Considering my mood when I played this, the fact that I only saw him as an eager young lad is kind of impressive. Also, I was not previously aware that "loser protagonist" and "eager young lad" even occupied adjacent categories. It is like imagining Nancy Drew sulking behind the counter of a McDonald's.)

There are some welcome innovations here. The game is divided into chapters, and, while the game can and should be played as a single thing from beginning to end, one could opt to skip to whichever chapter one chooses. This is handy if one has neglected to save one's game. It is also handy if one wishes to gauge how much game there is left to play.

Starting off, the game looked a lot bigger than it was. This is because the starship in which you begin is huge: the map is immediately available, and there are rooms all over the place, names of NPCs that one will no doubt be introduced to later, and indications that this is just one level of the whole thing. The game proper, however, mostly takes place in a much smaller and more manageable map. It is possible that "Irvine Quik" is meant to be episodic in nature, and the starship is so thoroughly mapped because it is meant to carry through many, many future games in a series. I'm not sure that is necessary: the downside here is that it creates a bit of an imbalance in the game world, and I will confess that I would have been more initially receptive had I been presented with a smaller, more relevant map.

The game is not without its bugs. I shan't bother pointing them out here, as others have done so before me. However, I will mention that I seem to have completely avoided a puzzle or two: apparently one of my possessions, tiger-skin coat, should have been stolen from me by a marauding monkey on my exit from the starship; however, since I'd stowed that coat away in my companion robot's storage compartment, this never happened. I don't know if this was intentional as an alternate solution, or if I'd just taken advantage of an unexpected bug. (I never encountered the monkey at all, actually.)

I'd like to think it was an alternate solution. There is evidence that some effort has been made with an eye to alternate solutions. There's more than one way to land the ship, after all.

A word about my mood going in: science fiction is very much not my thing, and at the time I was feeling extremely disinclined to engage in this game, or any game that starts out in a spaceship. My notes from the time suggested that I found the whole thing a bit bland. But, looking at the game with a somewhat more objective, distanced eye, I cannot honestly say that it was bland at all.

Mozzarella cheese omelette, quite gooey, and warm strawberry-flavoured milk.